Comic Book Review: X-O Manowar #21

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It was a crazy development for this story arc of X-O Manowar that things could finally come full circle for David Camp’s involvement with the divine entities outside of the universe. Some of us would have probably assumed this would take on another plot for Divinity, but it doesn’t hurt to throw Aric into the mix as well. Especially when you want to challenge the Visigoth warrior who wields one of the most powerful weapons IN the universe.

The confrontation with David Camp has been stories in the making, and was not at all how I pictured it would unfold. There was no denying that he would be a danger with what he stole on top of the knowledge he has about these people from the Unknown to hurt them. However, that would never have prepared you for the supernatural madness that he was able to unleash when introducing us to what a world like ours would look like with cosmic energies shared with the Earth (New Eden). I was caught off guard entirely with the kind of battle that Aric, Atom-13, and Tagg were put through. You tend to have high expectations for people of their level of power, but they certainly had their struggles. As they should of course. This is one of those stories where you want the powerful to be challenged. There’s no fun in being able to simply steamroll over everyone who crosses you. You tune in for more than that, am I right?

Regardless, nothing grabs your attention more than an Aric who has had his patience tested. That’s not the kind of guy that you want to keep testing after everything he has experienced up to this point. I was thrilled to see what it looked like when the gloves came off. Not to say that X-O Manowar is a book I read for the gore, but I’m certainly not opposed to it either when this is an action-packed book in general.

Now true madness is coming to understand why exactly it is that David Camp is not to be underestimated. At first it was his questionable decision-making that gave you chills. But now? It is the emphasis on what it means for him to be a Cartographer. You would think this might be an over and done with battle if it came down to just him, and you would at the same time be wrong. I’m glad to be wrong, because there is no fun in simple.

Over with Capshaw and the other Brothers of the Bomb, it was a point of interest to see how they were handling themselves with this surprise enemy that took them by surprise. No matter how this went, this was a big part of the story for Capshaw considering how much is at stake for her making sure that this mission is a success. Even with all the chaos and craziness surrounding this situation, you don’t forget that her career is still on the line after the tragic events of Harbinger Wars II. With that said, little time was wasted in addressing who this enemy was and the importance of their presence right here and now. The explanation I very much enjoyed since it added a lot of insight towards the way that the Unknown works. When it comes to the mysteries of the Unknown, it helps to establish where the line is crossed between interactions with everything else within the universe. How Capshaw handled this situation was all that we needed to see from the role she plays. When they put such a strong emphasis on her being able to get what she wants out of people, now was the time to give readers another example beyond being able to work with Aric.

Just when you thought you braced yourself for everything visually wonderful about this story arc, then this issue rolls around. Juan Jose Ryp and Andrew Dalhouse knocked it out of the park this month with everything gritty and creative about this clash of opposing forces. While things existing in the Unknown are definitely more out there in design and attire, what the Cartographer created here was nothing short of extravagant. Everything for him really centered around the theme of Eden, but with a more ferocious twist to it. It was one thing to marvel at these creations upon first introductions for the elegance of the coloring, but it was another thing once they were all sent on the attack. The blood lusting bear, the sprite bursting into dozens of colorful butterflies, and much more were hard to overlook. As for the intensity, I pretty much touched upon that above with the gore that came from Aric taking his gloves off. When it came to Capshaw, I enjoyed the way she was drawn to be observant. It plays into her strengths when she is someone who steps back, you see her looking and processing what’s going around her, and then swoops in with confidence in her presence and actions. Her character is worn on her sleeve and it makes a big difference in the way she engages with us and others.

X-O Manowar #21 was another issue that was well worth the wait. The Unknown is a well of untapped potential in storytelling, and this story arc is so far taking full advantage of it. This is the kind of havoc that one can wreak when messing with forces they should not know how to comprehend. You thought I was probably going to say can’t, but that’s not the case for this Cartographer.

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Total Score
8.7